Background Providing opportunities to young people allows them to develop skills and experience for work, education and adulthood (NHS England, 2019; Kirkman, Sanders, Emanuel, & Larkin, 2016). Aligned with our community development work, LOROS continues to develop its links with younger volunteers and has supported the appointment of a dedicated Youth Engagement Officer (LOROS Hospice three year strategic plan, 2019.) The LOROS Youth Ambassador Programme is striving to connect the hospice to the youth communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
Aims The programme aims to consolidate, expand and celebrate young people’s visibility in raising awareness of a charitable organisation and developing leadership, resilience, confidence and enthusiasm (Naidoo, 2001; Great British Entrepreneur Awards, 2018).
Methods June to August 2018 - research models of existing Youth Ambassador programmes, with examples found at international, national and local levels. August 2018 - creation of role description and training to include mandatory and bespoke training. September to November 2018 - research and applications for funding opportunities. December 2018 to March 2019 - setting up the programme and recruitment of Youth Ambassadors.
End of November 2018: £2,500 funding offered by NHS England Takeover Challenge, with a scope to start the project in January 2019;
March 2019: Recruitment of three Youth Ambassadors – one from Leicestershire and two from Leicester City schools and colleges;
April 2019: LOROS Youth Ambassadors attended the first Youth Voice Summit in London, raising awareness of youth involvement in care services;
May 2019: £2,000 funding received from Pukka Pies to support second wave of recruitment in September/October 2019;
July to August 2019: Youth Ambassadors will be supporting the facilitation of the LOROS Hospice School and National Citizen Service Social Action Projects.
Conclusion Providing opportunities to develop leadership and other key skills of young people in the local community, LOROS will be supplying a peer-to-peer support programme; not only will the team be supporting each other, they will be providing a long-term connection to the youth communities.
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